Core–shell monodisperse spherical mSiO2/Gd2O3:Eu3+@mSiO2 particles as potential multifunctional theranostic agents
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Core–shell nanoparticles with diameters in the range 100–500 nm have been synthesized as monodisperse spherical mesoporous (pore diameter 3 nm) silica particles with size deviation of less than 4 %, filled with gadolinium and europium oxides and coated with a mesoporous silica shell. It is shown that the melt technique developed for filling with gadolinium and europium oxides provides a nearly maximum filling of mesopores in a single-run impregnation, with gadolinium and europium uniformly distributed within the particles and forming no bulk oxides on their surface. The coating with a shell does not impair the monodispersity and causes no coagulation. The coating technique enables controlled variation of the shell thickness within the range 5–100 % relative to the core diameter. The thus produced nanoparticles are easily dispersed in water, have large specific surface area (300 m2 g−1) and pore volume (0.3 cm3 g−1), and are bright solid phosphor with superior stability in aqueous media. The core–shell structured particles can be potentially used for cancer treatment as a therapeutic agent (gadolinium neutron-capture therapy and drug delivery system) and, simultaneously, as a multimodal diagnostic tool (fluorescence and magnetic resonance imaging), thereby serving as a multifunctional theranostic agent.
KeywordsCore–shell nanoparticles Mesoporous silica Theranostic agent Gadolinium Europium
The authors are grateful to E. Yu. Stovpiaga for assistance in syntheses of monodisperse mSiO2 particles, to V. V. Sokolov for measurements of the true density of the samples, to A. V. Shvidchenko for assistance in measurements of the zeta potential of the particles, and to V. Yu. Davydov and A. A. Sitnikova for fruitful discussions. This work was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (project no. 15-52-12011) and the Program no. 1 of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The study was in part carried out at the Joint Research Center “Material science and characterization in advanced technology”.
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